Bruce Prichard believes the decision to try and make Diesel relatable after he became WWF Champion killed the character.
Kevin Nash (Diesel) won the Championship from Bob Backlund on November 26, 1994, in an 8-second match at Madison Square Garden. Speaking on the latest episode of his Something To Wrestle podcast (via AdFreeShows), Prichard still laments the fact that they tried to turn the big-man babyface. As soon as they did that, he ceased to be the wrestler that everyone fell in love with.
"Well, I don't necessarily think it was working and it goes back to day one of, okay, here's Diesel and he's your Champion and we want him to be this big babyface, so he's going to lead everybody in prayer," Prichard exclaimed. "He ceased being Diesel. All of a sudden everything I loved about Diesel went away because he became Kevin Nash from East Tennessee University and a basketball player that got hurt. Everything that was cool about him went away because somebody felt, 'God damn, we got to give credentials, you got to tell a real story about these guys.' He could have been a two-and-a-half-time All-American. Nobody gives a f*ck about that sh*t. They thought Diesel was cool and kicked people's asses... The audience overall was enthralled and they were intrigued by Diesel. They weren't intrigued by Kevin Nash at this point in time."
Bruce, who now serves as the Executive Director of Raw and SmackDown, claims to have nearly begged Vince McMahon not to do a sitdown interview with Diesel that would humanize him to the audience. He also implies that Jim Ross was heavily in favor and insisted that this was the proper way to tell stories.
"I remember begging almost not to do that goddamn sitdown interview that they did way back when with, '[Immitating J.R.] Well, Kevin, tell me about your college career. Tell me about Kevin.' We killed him right there in that moment. We killed what we had spent all that time building," said Prichard.
Prichard lost out and the interview eventually did take place on the February 6, 1995 edition of Raw. If it was up to him, Diesel would have remained mysterious.
"Diesel was a character, Kevin Nash was a person," Bruce explained. "The audience was in love with the character. They didn't know the person. You keep the person mysterious and mystique. When he becomes just like your buddy that went to college at East Tennessee and played a year on the team, what's special about him anymore?"
"You don't want people to relate to your top mega-stars," Prichard added.
This isn't to take anything away from the fact that Kevin played Division-I basketball for Tennessee, but it wasn't relevant to what he was doing now.
"I'm not taking anything away from his college career, at all," Prichard noted. "It was basketball. If Kevin were now on the Cleveland Cavaliers and he was playing basketball, goddamn, I'm going to talk all about that sh*t. But now he's Diesel. Diesel didn't go to f*cking Tennessee."
Diesel would eventually drop the title to Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1995. He wouldn't be in the WWF for much longer, however, as he joined WCW in June 1996. One month later, he, Scott Hall, and Hulk Hogan would form the nWo.
Nash, Hall, Hogan, and Sean Waltman - as the nWo - were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
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